Jones Apprenti Posts – transferred to a uniform Blog

Greetings Readers,

To provide a uniform blogging experience, we wanted to let you know that all past posts have transferred to a single blog:

We have not removed the prior posts on this platform in case you have links to them, but please understand that this blog is no longer monitored, and replies to comments will not occur.


And So Here We Are

As I post this, I can see my belongings are packed up in boxes, waiting patiently by the door. If my lack of posting through October and November hasn’t been much of a tip, there has been a lot going on here on the farm–most of my days during the pumpkin and christmas tree seasons have been spent in the Harvest Kitchen baking thousands of cookies, though last week we finished baking the last of the trail mix cookies and began creating goods for the gift shop! What a lovely change of pace; I’ve become quite the master at baking granola and elected to make a couple of batches of this particular one from King Arthur for holiday presents. The recipe is called Vermont Maple Granola (they are based out of Vermont), but I used local maple syrup from Connecticut, so I suppose mine would be more properly called Connecticut Maple Granola.

Over the past week I have been oscillating between a heavy and light heart–I have met so many wonderful and beautiful people throughout these months, and to be sure I have never been very good at saying good-bye, so it is especially difficult for me. I have had opportunities and experiences that I never once thought would be possible; I have learned that I am capable of more than I have ever imagined. I moved here after reading a book! Who does that, really? Though, it seemed completely normal to me at the time, and I suppose that is another lesson to learn from this: Do what feels normal to your own heart, even if it may not make sense to most.

Above, you can see the adorable gingerbread house we were working on in the Canteen during Santa’s Weekend. Part of a little demonstration, it started out incredibly frustrating until one of our guests suggested using egg whites in the frosting as a binding agent. Such great advice! We got a little carried away with this one and made immense additions–a greenhouse, deck…there is even a second floor to this one right here and inside there is a ladder for the nonexistent occupants to venture downstairs.

These past seven months whizzed by; it feels as though just yesterday I was moving in and so nervous, and now I am moving on to the next thing. Strangely, I am not nervous this time around–I think this is because when I came here I was not particularly sure what was going to happen; my intention in coming here was to learn what on earth I had to contribute to the farming world, or at least move a little more in the right direction and find out if I am even cut out for this lifestyle.

And I have. I have gotten a little bit closer to figuring out what exactly I want to do in the farming world, but the most important part is the fact that I figured out that there isn’t anything I want to do more than working with animals and the land and teaching people about both. I have the Jones family to thank for that–for inviting me to their farm to work and live and figure this all out.

Apple Bread

I had been waiting all summer for a good apple, and now it seems that they are everywhere now! Not to say that is a bad thing; it’s wonderful. Each weekend on Pumpkinseed Hill, we have a lovely apple stand where we sell Empire apples from the Hudson Valley in New York. They’re a cross between Macintosh and Red Delicious and they’re so great for baking (and eating–yum!). Here is a recipe I tried out for apple bread:

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups apples, diced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare a bread pan or muffin pan as needed.
2. Mix flours, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
3. Cream butter and sugars until combined.
4. Beat eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl; add to butter and sugars.
5. Add dry ingredients to wet and add orange juice as needed to soften mixture–it should be about half a cup–the mixture will be pretty thick.
6. Add apples and mix until combined.
7. Divide mixture among the selected tin. If using an 8×4 in. bread pan, bake for one hour; if using muffin tins, bake for approximately 20 minutes.

I put some of them in a bread pan and made some into muffins because they are easier to share that way. Enjoy!

Sharing is Caring

I had some extra corn the other day that everyone was able to enjoy! As they get bigger, the piglets will be a lot less keen on sharing their meals.

Our Newest Members!

I apologize for the lack of posting lately, these little girls have been occupying most of my time. Those little noses get me every time!

Wildlife in the Vineyards

While harvesting grapes this afternoon, Farmer Shannon and I found this little fellow in the vineyard! At this point in his life as larva, he’s the Banded Woolly Bear, but come spring, as an adult he’ll be an Isabella Tiger Moth.

These caterpillars emerge from their eggs in the fall and remain that way over the winter, surviving the freezes by producing a cryoprotectant in their tissues. Once the weather warms, the caterpillars devour all the grass and weeds they can, they pupate, and then become adults and live through the summer.

According to legend, the wider that middle brown section is (i.e., the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a harsh winter. But is it true?

I sure hope not, because this little guy isn’t too promising! As it turns out, though, larvae produced in the same clutch of eggs can vary from mostly red to mostly black, even when reared under the same conditions, and this variability pretty much invalidates that belief. In fact, the orange band will grow towards the ends of the body, with the black bands decreasing in size, as the larva matures.

Another fun fact: this little guy pictured in my hand is actually playing dead! If you remember back to my earlier post about the Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar whose everyday attire is intended to resemble that of a snake, here is yet another example of creatures interacting with their surroundings!

Speaking of–Halloween is coming up and our first day of Pumpkin harvesting is this Saturday, the 24th. I can’t wait for apple cider!

This Past Sundae

Following the last day of blueberry season here on the farm, a couple of us helped out at a fundraiser for the Working Lands Alliance called Sundae On the Farm, hosted by one of the The Farmer’s Cow’s six family dairy farms in our state of Connecticut, Graywall Farms. It was certainly a lovely afternoon; there was storm headed our way but it happened to pass right around us and we only felt a small sprinkle.

I was vegan for most of my teen years until recently when I discovered the Farmer’s Cow’s milk, milk made from Connecticut cows, so I was particularly interested in touring the farm to get an idea of how the animals whose milk I drink are treated. Not to mention after the CRAFT meeting last Monday, I have got dairy farms on the brain!